Following on the success of his new book The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos, popular physicist Brian Greene recently sat down with On Being host Krista Tippett to discuss his awe of science, the meaning of the Higgs Boson particle, and his insistence that the deepest nature of reality is hidden from us.
In this fascinating podcast episode, Krista Tippett discovers Greene’s motivation behind his pursuits: from the delight and thrill of scientific discovery to seeing an equation on paper identify with an occurrence in the natural world. “How can you not be in awe of that?,” asks Greene, who goes a step further to ask, “And how can you not be convinced that that is revealing some deep truth about reality that you simply are not privy to with your eyes or your hands or your ears? There’s no sense that allows us to directly experience the quantum world, but the mathematics allows us to understand it and make predictions that agree with observation.”
With Tippett’s curiosity peaked, Greene goes on to discuss equally complex matters—from string theory to the Higgs Boson particle to existential questions of life and death:
“I think this is what science can do for you. It really can allow you to lift yourself out of the everyday, if that every day is dangerous, if that every day is somehow unpleasant, even if that every day is wondrous. But it can allow you to lift above it and experience reality in a different way.”
Listen to On Being’s “Reimagining the Cosmos” with Brian Greene, originally recorded at a public event of the Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Columbia University in New York City, where Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics.